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J1 visa
Current location:home>> J1 visa

The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based 

exchange visitor programs. Participants are integral to the success of the program. Here you can learn more about 

obtaining the J-1 Visa and other relevant visas. The wait time for an interview and processing for a J-1 Visa varies from 

country to country and is based on your individual circumstances. Once you obtain a Form DS-2019 from a Sponsor, 

you may apply for an exchange visitor J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of 

residence.


You may not arrive more than 30 days before the program start date shown on your DS-2019. Upon completion 

of your exchange program, you have a grace period of 30 days to depart the United States.If your visa has expired 

and you do not plan to travel outside of the U.S., you do not need to renew the visa. Please be aware that if you 

travel outside of the United States during your current exchange visitor program and after your J-1 visa has expired, 

you must apply for a new J-1 visa in your home country in order to re-enter the United States to continue your 

program.The United States introduced the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa Program under the Mutual Educational and 

Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright–Hays Act of 1961). The J-1 visa was administered by the U.S. Information Agency 

(USIA) to strengthen relations between the US and other countries. It fell under the purview of the USIA and not 

the Immigration and Naturalization Service because its main purpose is to disseminate information; its goal is to give 

people training and experience in the U.S. that they can use to benefit their home countries. These 

exchanges have assisted the Department of State in furthering the foreign policy objectives of 

the United States.


The J-1 Program started by bringing scholars into the United States temporarily for a specific educational objective, 

such as teaching and conducting research. It then extended to several other Exchange Visitor Programs that shared 

the same objective, like the au pair, Government Visitor, Professor and Research or Short-Term Scholar, Work and 

Travel USA and the Trainee Programs. A J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States to exchange visitors 

participating in programs that promote cultural exchange, especially to obtain medical or business training within 

the U.S. All applicants must meet eligibility criteria and be sponsored either by a private sector or government program.

J-1 visitors may remain in the United States until the end of their exchange program, as specified on form DS-2019. 

Once a J-1 visitor's program ends, he or she may remain in the United States for an additional 30 days, often referred 

to as a "grace period", in order to prepare for departure from the country.The actual J-1 visa certificate does not 

specifically document this 30-day post-study/exam "grace period", and consequently some airline counter staff have 

refused to issue a boarding pass to an embarking student. In particular, when the student's return ticket is 

departing after the J-1 visa has expired. For example: the return date is the next day after the students 

last exam.

If the visitor leaves the United States during these 30 days, the visitor may not re-enter with the J-1 visa. Many persons 

in the United States on J-1 visa are subject to the two-year home residency requirement found in Section 212(e) of 

the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under the Section 212(e), before a person on a J-1 visa with the two-year home 

residency requirement can change to nonimmigrant status (H-1B or L1, for example), or adjust to U.S. permanent 

resident status, the J-1 person must either return to the country of last residence for two years or obtain a waiver of 

the two-year home residency requirement.Upon their departure from the United States, many J-1 visa holders are 

required to complete a mandatory two-year home-country physical presence prior to re-entry into the United States 

under dual intent visas. This applies for those whose exchange program was funded by either their government or the 

U.S. government, involves specialized knowledge or skills deemed necessary by their home country or if they received 

graduate medical training.The two-year stay can be served in several intervals. J-1 visa sponsors are required to monitor 

the progress and welfare of their participants. The J-1 visa sponsors should ensure that the participants' activities are 

consistent with the program category identified on the participants' Form DS-2019. Sponsors are also to require their 

participants to provide current contact (address and telephone number) information and to maintain this information 

in their files.All exchange visitor applicants must have a SEVIS generated DS-2019 issued by a DOS designated sponsor, 

which they submit when they are applying for their exchange visitor visa. The consular officer verifies the DS-2019 

record electronically through the SEVIS system in order to process your exchange visitor visa application to conclusion. 

Unless otherwise exempt, exchange visitor applicants must pay a SEVIS I-901 Fee to DHS for each individual program.

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